Sending an e-mail is like mailing a post card. Unless it is encrypted, there are ways other people can read the message and see what is in it. Even though e-mail is easy, it also has its dangers. Anyone in the world can try to read it, and even change what was written.
Criminals who specialize in fraud have taken notice. Fraudsters can mimic an e-mail address or domain trying to trick people into wiring funds to the wrong account. An unsuspecting buyer can get an e-mail that looks like it is from an attorney or real estate agent with instructions on sending their funds to the closing attorney. Can you tell the difference between ‘lawfirm.com’ and ‘lawfirrn.com’? These are two different domains. One is ‘L A W F I R M . C O M’ and the other is ‘L A W F I R R N . C O M’. People read e-mails fast and it is impossible to catch subtle differences in the spelling like this.
Technology has made it simple to create professional looking documents. The drawback is that it also makes it easy for the fraudsters to create similar looking documents and instructions. Even a fax or encrypted e-mail may be dangerous because criminals can also fax and send encrypted e-mails. ALTA has created a short video to show how this scam works.